The 5 Most Brilliant & Bitchy Quotes From Nate Silver's Out Interview

By: Daniel Villarreal
12.18.2012

Even though he'd hate to be described this way, Nate Silver is the gay statistical wizard who predicted the outcome of the 2012 presidential election down to every last state.

He lives in New York, is single (if you find dorks hot) and he just sat down with Out for an interview as their Person of the Year.

The story is a good one about how Silver turned from a debate-loving, fantasy baseball-obsessed nerd into the most celebrated statistician of our day.

But Silver also spends the interview slamming the political pundits who called him overrated in the run-up to the election and describing what makes him different from those blowhards.

It's brilliantly bitchy.

So we've taken Silver's five best moments from the interview and quoted them below for you read-on-the-go types. Enjoy:

1) ON WHY HE HASN'T BEGUN FORECASTING EVERYTHING

“It’s a bit of a cautionary tale: the bright young intellectual who either gets sloppy or people stop scrutinizing them when they should be critical of everyone and everything,” says Silver. “That’s why I need to take some time just to relax—between the election and the book, I spilled out a lot of my creative output. Hopefully it’s a renewable resource, but you need time to generate thoughts and ideas.”

2) IN WHICH HE CALLS WRITER PEGGY NOONAN A POOP CHEF

And too often we let pundits reinforce our convictions with a noisy blend of spin and hokum, whether on climate change or Romney vs. Obama. “Peggy Noonan is someone who is very, very skilled at making bullshit look like some elegant soufflé,” Silver says. “She’s very good at rhetoric and argument, but it’s still not grounded in the truth—it all falls apart every four years, but I don’t think she’ll be out of a job any time soon.”

3) IN WHICH HE CALLS POLITICO WRITER DYLAN BYERS A COWARD

“I think he’s a terrible journalist,” he says bluntly, referring to an article in which [Politico's Dana] Byers chastised BuzzFeed reporter Michael Hastings for his antagonistic approach to interviewing politicians.

“Isn’t that the job of a journalist, to speak truth to power? The fact that this Dylan Byers guy saw that as problematic is a problem. We work in a world now where all these connections are so massaged; if you talk to someone in the State Department or the Obama campaign, you have to write three unquestioning fluff pieces for every real piece of information you get.” (Byers, [who had called Silver "a one-term celebrity,"] did not respond to requests for comment.)

4) IN WHICH HE CALLS ALL PUNDITS SENSATIONALIST LIARS

“A lot of this is about values,” he says. “I think I have a better value system than the pundits—I care about truth, and I care about informing people, and they care about ratings. So that’s where I tend to play offense.”

5) ON HOW HE'D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED

He recalls a series of flagpoles in Boystown in Chicago memorializing various gay Americans. “There was one little plaque for Keith Haring, and it was, like, ‘Keith Haring, gay American artist, 1962 to 1981,’ or whatever [actually 1958 to 1990], and I was like, Why isn’t he just an American artist? I don’t want to be Nate Silver, gay statistician, any more than I want to be known as a white, half-Jewish statistician who lives in New York.”

Oh Nate. We wish all political pundits-slash-genius statisticians were just like you.

Read the entire Out interview with Nate Silver here.

 

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